November 29, 2011

The Spirit of Giving

In the Spirit of giving, I'm going to be offering my novel in ebook form for free until Dec. 25th. Go to SMASHWORDS and enter coupon code GJ25D to get 100% off =D

October 26, 2011

The Mountain of WIPs

     I've been too distracted by the OWS media to write much lately :P 

The last time I cracked open my files to write, though, I flipped through the multitudes of folders that I have delegated for each WIP. It's like a library in there. I have so many WIPs!! So many beginnings, so much potential is lying unfinished and unedited collecting virtual dust. Does everyone do this? Accumulate a plethora of ideas and begin multiple projects, but never get around to doing any more with them? Looking at all these unused files, I think that's what makes me so happy about having at least one finished. Maybe since somehow I pulled that off, I can do it again, and again. I really hope someday my WTF (work that's finished, lol) is bigger than my WIP file. 

October 5, 2011

I got my first review/interview!!!

      The wonderful Sofia over at Sofia Day's Pen wrote a nice review and asked me for an interview!! This has definitely been a year of a lot of firsts. Thanks to Sofia for hosting me!!

You can check out the review and interview here:

Sofia Day's Pen and Writers Den

September 30, 2011

Falling for Fall

As I look around me at the leaves changing color, feeling the cool night air, and watching all the birds fly through, I'm starting to think fall is the perfect time for romance... Romance writing that is. I used to struggle, I mean REALLY struggle writing out romance scenes. I've never even considered writing a whole romance book, I can imagine how awkward and corny that would turn out...

Even though nothing I write centers on romance, it keeps popping up. Seems no matter what you write, there's some love in there somewhere. I wonder sometimes if having such a hard time pecking out a mushy line stems from real life experience. My husband and I, we really aren't the most romantic people in the world. We forget our own anniversary and spend Valentines Day at the Bass Pro Shop if that tells you anything.

I finally got some suggestions from a friend on good romance novels, and spent quite a lot of time reading through them, studying how they played with words to keep it interesting and realistic. There are some very talented folks out there with a knack for the L-O-V-E. I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of it. Now I might be able to finish this next novel without postponing all the love scenes until the rest of the book is finished.

Is there anything in particular that just doesn't come out right for you? How do you attempt to overcome it?

September 28, 2011


Lately, it might seem as if I've fallen off the blogosphere. Well, I have. After writing and marketing, and researching, and blogging, and writing, and formatting, and writing, and correcting... you get the picture... I needed a good long break from everything else to concentrate on writing. I've met my goal now, and I can come back out into the world, catch up with everyone else, and be social again!. WOOOOO!!

August 17, 2011

WriteOnCon 2011 and upcoming guest

     Have you visited WriteOnCon 2011 yet? If you haven't, go there now! You can't beat a free online yearly writers conference. They have some amazing advice for writers by writers and LIVE CHATS with agents. It's a great opportunity for anyone who has a love for the art. The wonderful folks over at The Practice Room directed me to the site, and I can't thank them enough.
    Speaking of TPR - that's another thing you should try. A group of writers gets together, spends one hour dedicated to writing, and then we meet up in a live chat room to catch up with everyone's progress and report our own. It's a wonderful source for advice, encouragement, and TONS of humor. There is a schedule posted for TPR times here: THE PRACTICE ROOM. I hope to see you there!!

    Aside from all that, I'm about to host my first guest blog!! Who is the guest? None other than the wonderful little "Sasy". My 10 year old daughter is going to write her own blog about her thoughts on childrens literature with homosexual themes. Who better to ask than the children themselves? We got the idea from a blogger buddy who has been blogging recently about that exact subject. Read some of Jon's thoughts on the controversial subject at his blog HERE. Sassy's blog will be posted as soon as she's done reading and is ready for her voice to be heard. Stay Tuned. 

August 4, 2011

Reviews, Surprises, and YOUR BLOG

      It's been awhile since I opened up my own blog. I've been charting new territory lately, seeking out book reviewers. I don't know for certain, but I've heard selecting literary agents is a difficult task. For me, sending out requests for review is draining too. I'm not making any lists and spamming reviewers. Instead, I'm carefully selecting them. I've read a lot of book reviews, and I'm trying desperately to keep away from those who seem to post all negative reviews, and also those who post all positive reviews. When I get reviews, more than wanting positive feedback, I want truthful feedback. At this point, I still have 0, but I've already got spots with a few who will post when they get to it, and that's a relief.
     It's been a real waiting game. Waiting for approvals, waiting for technical errors to be solved, waiting for reviews, lots and lots of waiting. The upside is that I've actually been doing a lot of writing while waiting. =D

    I suppose I was a bit blinded when I walked into this realm of book-writing. I've actually been VERY surprised that I'm dodging the eBook revolution. Thus far, I've sold nearly 10 times more paperback books than I have digital versions. I've also been very fortunate in an area I had only heard bad things about - trying to hand sell books. I even sold a book to a woman in a grocery store yesterday. In fact, ordering them myself and humbly mentioning them here and there has had the best rate of success so far. Has anyone else experienced this?

   While I have been neglecting my poor little blog, I haven't failed to keep up with others. I'm not telling who, but some of you actually have blogs that I'm bordering on addiction with. There were some in particular that hadn't posted recently, and I found myself watching and waiting. Blogs have been some of the best sources of advice, feedback, and encouragement I've ever found. I'm not the kind of person who just "follow"s a blog. When I "follow" them, I FOLLOW them. Even if I don't comment, you can bet I'm reading it. Keep up the great blogging!! It really does make a difference.

July 25, 2011

My proofing guidelines.

     With all the talk of proofing lately, I thought I might share my own proofreading guidelines. With the exception of #1 below, I go through this with every edit of my own manuscripts, as well as those of friends and other writers who trust me with their work. Here's how it works:

1. Read the entire work and enjoy it. 
Make a note of any major problems but don't focus on editing.

Why? Because events in chapter 1 have consequences in chapter 20. How can I give someone advice on plotlines and structure in the beginning when I don't know what it could mean for the end?

Now that I know the outcome...

2. Read chapter 1 again.
Highlight any SPaG (spelling, punctuation, and grammar). Make a note of any breaks in the flow of reading. Give suggestions on sentence structure if needed.

Now that it's more clear and flowing...

3. Read through the chapter again.
Focus on plot holes and timeline. Highlight strong and weak points of EVaD (essence, voice, and development).

4. Wash, Rinse, Repeat for all chapters. 

5. Pre-review.
After I've brushed up the ms to the best of my ability, I write a pre-review. A Pre review is simply a 'letter' of sorts to the author detailing my own opinions and suggestions for the overall ms,

I look at things like:
-Was a certain excerpt too dragged out?
-Was it too descriptive? Or not enough?
-Was there anything that could have been left out without consequence?
-Was there something that needed more explanation?
-Was there something I wanted to know, but it doesn't tell?
-If I could change anything, what would it be?
-Is there anything that just doesn't fit.
-ALWAYS tell them the parts of their ms that I loved

And then I hit send and start the journey of e-mailing back and forth with the author to clarify things, talk to them about the ms, and get THEIR feedback on what I've suggested. I always reinforce my belief that everything I give them is purely suggestion and they're welcome to throw it all out if they don't feel it is right for their work. The author knows their work better than any other person in the world, only they can decide what is really right for their ms and what isn't.

If you have any suggestions to add to my list, of course I'm always up for improving my proofreading along with my writing.

July 23, 2011

I want to...

Proofread. I enjoy it and it's a very nice break from all this writing. Got anything that needs a good free proofreading?

July 15, 2011

Marketing Strategies you haven't already heard.

     The same day I finished my first novel, I began writing out a detailed business plan for marketing. Hours and hours of research led me down the same paths many times over. Most of them were ads that led me to a book about marketing that I could purchase for the small price of **$99.99** or some other insidious amount. The articles and blogs I found all pretty much said the same things, so I decided to dig deep into my brainpit and find something DIFFERENT.

I came up with some ideas and did some homework. Here are a few of the strategies I came up with. (As of yet, I'm not certain of the results...)

1. The first thing I did was buy a magnet. A WHAT? Haha. Yes, a magnet. A car door magnet. Everywhere I look around town, people have these things advertising business. Selling a book is a business, so why not? I found a very affordable plan at I tested it out, ordered a small one for $8. I'm very pleased with the product, and went on to order larger ones with more info on where to find it.

Also, if you decide to buy one with them, google "Vistaprint discount codes". I found a 25% off code and saved even more before checkout. I haven't received the larger ones yet, but this was what the little one looked like:

Don't go making fun of my grandma-mobile =) Also, I had to put it in a weird place because my car is made of plastic... Anyway, I've had people stop me in Wal~Mart parking lots to ask about it, so it's definitely something I would suggest.

I'm also planning in the future to hit up some local owner/operator truck drivers to see what they might charge me to stick one on a truck that travels nationwide.

2. Consignment sales. I'm not sure if that's what other stores call them, but my local Hastings bookstore offers these sales. You take in however many books you'd like to sell there, fill out a paper, tell them how much profit you want to make, they mark them up 30% and put them on their shelves. It's a pretty sweet deal. They ask you to come in once a month to check sales, restock, and get paid. You can pull them out of the store any time you'd like, so it's a no risk situation for all. I started small with 10 books, and I'm waiting on more this very moment because they sold out. If you have a Hastings Entertainment store around, I wouldn't hesitate to put it to good use. I'm not certain yet if other bookstores offer something similar, but I will be checking around.

3. Facebook Ads- Okay, I'll have to admit this wasn't my idea... Scott Niven offered this advice on his blog over HERE. I set up an ad for $1.50 per day and have gained followers to my Facebook page. I'm not sure how this translates into sales, since I can't see who buys the book, but the more eyes on it the better.

4. The Book Trailer. Again, not sure if it's boosted sales any, but I've had views from 80 different sources, 25 of which were linked at the end of another video on YouTube. This has allowed me to expand my reach to people who would have probably never even heard of it. And of course, it didn't cost a penny =D

Other than the typical sales schemes of a book, these are some great ways to help you promote. If you have any other methods that aren't blogged about on a daily basis, feel free to comment below and share your knowledge.

July 9, 2011

A little fun

    I found a neat little gadget today that allows you to paste in your work, and it analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them to those of famous writers.
   I plugged in a few chapters and this was my result:

You can try it out for yourself here: I WRITE LIKE...

While I think I'm far from Rudyard Kipling, it was still fun. If you try it out, let me know what the results were =D

On another note... I'm so stoked about getting the first copy of my book in paperback!!

It feels amazing to be able to hold it!! The paperback is available @ Sounding Waters. The only downside is, my husband thinks I'm crazy for wanting to bring it to bed with me. I'm sure you understand...

July 5, 2011

It's 2:30 am and the garbage can looks nice Oo

     Now with the first book "finished" (meaning other than advert, there's nothing left to do =D), I'm moving more into book 2, The Origin Stone. I feel like I lost my wings. The first novel I finished just kept coming to me in spurts. The words would just appear in my head and I couldn't get them out fast enough. This was the cause of immense amounts of typos in the first draft, but that was easily remedied.
     This time? Not so much. I've pushed out about 9k words so far, but I'm having trouble liking them. The more I look back over what I've written, the more I want to scrap it all and start over. The best descriptive word that comes to mind is, "Bleh". It's maddening when you know exactly what you want to happen, but it doesn't seem to want to happen. I've been arguing with one of my MCs for 45 minutes now because he doesn't want to do what I want him to. Maybe I'll reconsider making my characters so stubborn in the future...
     I know plenty about writer's block, but this is different. Its more like "writer's drunk" in that my metaphorical speech is slurred and things are a wee bit blurry. Have you ever had writer's drunk? Did you pitch out the work and start fresh, or go back and sort it all out?

July 1, 2011

Changes in the release

     Well, it looks as though this might all wrap op a month sooner than expected, so I'll be releasing this book sooner than originally planned. I'll update as soon as I know for sure.

June 27, 2011

Ever have one of those days?

     It seemed like everything that came out of my mouth today got twisted and scrambled up and my tongue absolutely refused to cooperate with my brain. By the end of the day, every word of this video made sense to me:

June 23, 2011

I heard a literary joke today...

... and I couldn't pass up sharing it:

     A man asks his literary agent, "What type of writing brings in the most money?" 

     The agent answers, "Ransom notes." 

June 22, 2011

Riding the Fence

      I've read a lot of indie books lately, and noticed that many of them seem to have skipped the use of an editor or proofreader all together. I'm not sure yet how I feel about that.
     On one side, I sort of like getting to look at a pure unfiltered work. Although writing is a different art form, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali didn't have anyone go over their art before "publishing" it.

     And neither did Auguste Rodin, or numerous other artists. It's almost like looking straight into a writer and seeing all of their best traits along with their flaws. You get to see the words they overuse, the ones they can never seem to spell right, and the tidbits of passages that make sense to them, but not to any other mortal being. In a sense, I like seeing that I'm not the only one who screws things up.

     On the other hand... I have to consider that I spent hard earned money on this work. I tend to take someone's "art" only as seriously as they do. It tugs at me that someone who puts it out there without even reading over it first - didn't consider the consequences and didn't give enough effort. Can you imagine how many edits the songs on the Billboard charts go through?

    I'm not sure where I stand really, which is odd for me. Some say it's bringing down the quality of the literature industry, while other say it's allowing story-tellers who aren't so much writers to be heard. I can see it both ways. How do you feel about buying unedited work?

June 20, 2011

This paperback thing is, for lack of a better word... dfiohw uihuabartjkb

        I have the ebook all polished and ready to post, but this paperback formatting is a madhouse!! I kinda (sorta) have a good start, but indeed, there are problems...

1. I can't get the page numbers to stop showing up on Chapter Title pages....

2. I have the same problem with the Author and Title headers

3. I have to have a barcode? This is confusing me, because some sites tell me I can get a free one (as long as you understand how to set one up with incoherent instructions) while others say to go buy one?

4. I've read that I need to apply for an LCCN, but I'm having trouble applying for one since I don't own a publishing house... I've also heard you don't need one... I'm sincerely unsure...

If you have any idea how to address any of these tormenting issues, don't hesitate to respond. Am I in over my head on this one? Anyone up for LOTS of coffee tonight? 

June 18, 2011

Don't say it if you don't mean it.

     I heard those words many years ago from my mother. I never thought I would hear them in relation to writing, but oddly enough, it's something I think about often now. I learned to appreciate that phrase a lot more while working with my editor. I love how different she and I looked at things. A lot of the revisions she suggested had nothing to do with what I was trying to portray, because she interpreted what I was saying in a completely different manner than I meant it. That caused me to break down my writing and clarify what I meant. While it's good to leave vague suggestions in writing, sometimes things just need to be said exactly how they are meant.

     This phrase is good to keep in mind with relationships as well. I'd venture to say a lot of complications can come from your partner taking something you said the wrong way. Now when I'm writing and speaking, I reflect back to that little phrase a lot. I'm working on trying to make something exactly what it's supposed to be. 

      At the same time, keep in mind that this issue has been used for the basis of romantic comedy for as long as it has existed. Sit down and watch any episode of George Lopez, and you're sure to see him trying to say something nice to his wife while she gets offended because she perceived it quite the opposite of the way he meant.

     Have you ever said or wrote something that came off the wrong way?

June 13, 2011

A work, invaded.

I was bright and cheery that I have nearly all the technical crap out of the way and my first novel is ready to post up. I was overjoyed that after months of learning and working out all it takes to get a book ready, I could finally get back to writing! I opened another WIP last night, but while I was writing, my mind kept trailing back to how this work wasn't formatted at all. It was full of "tab" indents, the font was wrong, the line spacing was wrong... It's strange how my brain tries so hard to stay locked on one thing and I have to give effort to make it "mind". So as of now, I'm trying hard to focus on JUST writing.

I try to stay away from filling this blog with personal things. After all, this is about the writing aspects of my life and only faintly remarks on the personal. I just couldn't help thinking this fits into both, though. I awoke a few mornings ago to find this:

My son was in his PJ's having a (not so) nutritious picnic with a good book. The fact that both of my children enjoy reading warms my heart to no end. My daughter tells me constantly she can't wait to be older so that when she tries to read my books they will make sense, bless her.

The best part is, no matter what happens with this novel, nothing can deter me from trudging ahead. If I only sell two books, I will still keep writing, keep publishing, and keep going. I have the chance to demonstrate to my children how important it is to hold onto your dreams and not get discouraged. As of now, my son wants to be in the ARMY and my daughter wants to be a teacher. I'm sure those will change many times over the coming years, but I will always be there to encourage them. I don't care what they do, as long as they're happy doing it. I know I sure am.

That being said, I've noticed a lot of the blogs I follow have progress meters that tell current word counts and status of a WIP. I hope one of you would be so kind as to tell me where I can find one of those to put in this blog :)

June 9, 2011

Attempting a book trailer...

I've been playing around with this movie maker trying to come up with a decent book trailer. If you have a minute (literally, it's only about a minute long) check it out and give me some feedback or suggestions. All comments are welcome, I'm new to this whole movie-making thing...

To watch it, click H E R E. (I can't seem to get it to upload directly into the blog post...)

June 6, 2011

Brain Spaz

       Warning: This post may be completely scattered at random. 

     This week, I vowed to put down this book and not even look at it. I won't perfect formatting, I won't question myself, I won't plan more marketing strategies, I won't... I won't... I won't. 

    It's been a much needed break. My housework is all caught up, I've seen family and friends, and done a lot of fishing. I love fishing. The best part, though, has been cracking open some old works rewinding back in time when I wasn't ready to start putting things out there. This very moment, I have one finished novel, and six other novels in the making. After not looking at some of them for literally months, they were all fresh and exciting. I can't wait to look at my published list one day in the (FAR) future and have all of them done and in print.

Anyhoo, I wanted to talk about something. I have this habit of nicknaming my characters. They start off with a typical name, and somewhere along the line, it usually gets shortened. It's strategically incorporated in the hopes that my readers can feel closer to these characters by having something more personal to call them. It's something we do in everyday life. I don't remember the last time I called my daughter by her name. Since she was a wee little tot, she's been "Sassy". My husband, also, has been "Cricket", and my son, "Pepper". I wonder why I have this incessant need to nickname everything? Just ask Robert and Richard, two men who I used to work with, better known as Bobert and Dickard. Do you nickname your characters? Or is this just another of my strange quirks?

Back to fishing... (I warned you). While I was patiently waiting for something to bite, I was scribbling about on my notebook. Here's a glimpse of what goes through my mind while I'm scribbling to myself: 

Fishing is all about trust, or at least trying to mimic it. The best way to catch a fish is to gain it's trust. If you can put something out there that the fish believes is an easy meal, well, there you go. 

My fishing trip tonight has made me think a lot about trust. I think it's the single most fragile thing in the universe, and so important at the same time. Trust should come in a padded carton, like an egg -- instead it hangs by a thread out there in the balance just waiting to be dropped and broken. 

Another random thing -- I was going to post a pic of my notebook instead of typing it, but I fear no other human can read my handwriting. Thank heavens for keyboards. 

I also wrote out a life motto. What's a life motto? --  you ask. It's sort of like the golden rule. It's a code of ethics that I think everyone should write for themselves, and reflect back on it frequently. I'm not going to post my detailed code out here, but the last line of it, I really use a lot. 

Before you do anything, ask yourself: How many people will this hurt?

Enough randomness for one day. If you have character nicknames, tell me what they are. Also, if you have anything to add to my excerpts on trust and ethics, feel free to share. I love to hear what other people think about these things. 

June 2, 2011

Special Thanks

I wanted to send out a special THANKS to some wonderful ladies who took my first page and very professionally made some revisions and pointed me in a better direction on a few things. Their comments were very helpful and I can brush up the beginning of this book to really grab readers.

My unending gratitude to:


Your suggestions have offered me the chance to give anyone who reads this book a better FIRST IMPRESSION.

Check out their blogs and FOLLOW. Submit your first page and see what they can do to make you make a better first impression.

May 31, 2011

I'm THERE!!! (Almost...)

     The past few weeks have felt like a death race to me. My editor returned my ms with the FINAL revisions, and I took my time going through every last detail. I thought I had it in tip-top shape, and then I read the critique posted on BLACKBIRD IN MY WINDOW on my first few paragraphs. I suppose I never knew the word "waterhole" would be disliked. It's all well, though... changing one word was fairly simple. I tweaked the cover art to the best of my (meager) ability, and spent WAAAYY too much time learning to format ebooks.

    Now I'm all jittery (though it may be from all the coffee and not purely excitement), because this beast is formatted and ready for ebook! AAAAAHHHH. (Composing myself). I'm planning to set a release date in the near future between my grandmothers birthday, grandfathers retirement party, my husband's birthday, my father's birthday, fathers day, and Independence Day. Hmm... maybe I'll just wait until all that is over. Nothing really big going on in August.


May 27, 2011

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

This is not something I usually do, but I recently received a $5 Amazon gift card from a friend. In most cases, I would have been stoked about buying some new ebooks, but at the present, I'm bombarded with work. I don't have the time to read anything, and it may be weeks before I'm able to even browse for something new. So I thought, why don't I give it away to someone who will use it? 

First off, I don't want to use money to gain followers, I want people interested in reading, writing, and publishing here, not just the ones who swarm blog contests, so I won't be advertising this anywhere. Lucky for you who already followed me! Of course, if you have a friend who likes the same things, I won't be upset if you mention it to them.

Since it's just 5 bucks, I won't make this hard. All you have to do is reply to this blog post with a link to your blog. If you don't have a blog, just reply with your name. I'll give it a week, write down all the names, and draw one from a hat. I'll contact you with my e-mail address and use that to deliver you the code from the card. *Sigh, now I have to get back to work : P

 **Note - this is a gift card CODE that can be redeemed online at and added to your account for use. This is not a physical card.

May 24, 2011

I got blog tagged :)

I was blog tagged by Scott Niven, author of a series of books on speculative fiction (they're very good, if you haven't read them and you enjoy speculative fiction, you can check them out at the blog link above). One of his stories in particular, A Mare Imbrium Wink, is still dancing through my head while I make up the rest of the story to appease my curiosity. At least until he releases the full version... I hope. 

As part of the blog tagging experience, I need to answer some questions, then blog tag some other bloggers. So here we go:

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

My, my, why the hard questions? I have two children so that cancels out using their births as my one relivable moment. I suppose, since he was the cause of my children, my first date with Greg would be high on the list, though there was a bit of clumsy embarrassment involved that I wouldn't want to relive. 

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
I would retract all those little things that disappointed my parents, or at least hide them better.  

What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?
Truthfully, I don't watch enough TV to get too familiar with characters. There was a movie in 1962 based on the book by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I always loved the book because I could see so much of myself in the little girl named Scout. Mix her with Pippin from LOTR, and Zeddicus Z'ul Zorander from The Sword of Truth, and that about sums me up.

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
If it were unavoidable, I would push myself. If I had to be responsible for the death of one person, I would take my own life before that of someone else. I'm not suicidal in the least, but I don't really have a fear of death, more the fear of causing someone else's.

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.
My incessant need to have a place for everything and everything in it's place.

Describe yourself in one word.


Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

Why do you blog? (In one sentence):

It's entirely too efficient to spread ideas and ask for advice, moreso than emailing 20+/- people separately. 

And the people I'm blog tagging are: TBA

May 22, 2011


     I haven't been perusing blogspot much lately, but it's likely because of my newfound addiction. I joined a writing community, LegendFire, and I can't stay away from it. The forum leaders are very involved and knowledgeable, the critique posts are informative and professional, and the writing challenges are a wonderful way to flex your brain muscles.

   If you aren't already active in writing communities, I highly recommend this one. Click the link below:

May 20, 2011

Why I decided to go independent

     Though it's literally taken me months to make a decision on publishing, I've made a final conclusion. There are several main factors that led me to self publishing:

1. The most important to me was the concept of artistic freedom
- Traditional publishing leaves little room for that. In the end, the author has little to no say in what stays in the ms, what the cover looks like, and how they market it. Those are all things I want to be a part of. This is my first finished novel, after all.

2. Price really influenced my decision
- Was I worried about profit? No, not at all. I was more concerned that the prices set by trad. publishers would keep this book out of my readers reach. Every penny made from this title will be recycled into marketing, so I don't care about making money. I just want someone who looks at the cover and wants to read it to be able to walk away with it and not have to worry about the cost. 

3. Time is of the essence
-Though I'm not the type to get in a hurry about anything, you can bank on the course of traditional publishing taking years. While I do have the patience to stick it out and go that route, I have acquaintances who want to read this book NOW. When I pass people I know in the grocery store, I get the same question. "When will I be able to get my hands on your book?" I don't want to have to tell these people who are supporting me that they're going to have to wait a few years. Give the people what they want. 

4. Marketing 
Let's be honest. I know who has my best interest in mind. It isn't an agent, or a publisher, or any other middle man in the world of literature. No, they all have their own agendas. The only one whose sincere interest lies with getting this book where it needs to be is me. The real cause for this being weighed into my decision was a book reviewer. At one time, I followed a certain reviewer right here on blogspot. I recently read one of *this person's reviews that was filled with such vulgar language that I made my first "unfollow" ever. While anyone can post a review, and I will encourage any who are interested, I want to be able to decide the kind of people and websites and advertising that are associated with my work. 

5. The concept of success
Thankfully, I'm not the kind of person who judges their success based on number of sales on a chart. If one single person reads this book and enjoys it, I've accomplished what I set out to do. With a publisher, I wouldn't get the sweet ambiance of reveling in my success. Unfortunately, I would be squealing with delight over one happy reader while the publisher would be telling me, "It's not enough." I have a great deal of respect for every bestseller that's ever been. They sell that many for a reason. My way of thinking still leads me to believe that just one really is enough. 

It simply falls into place with my lifestyle. It will fit on the shelf right beside my home improvement hobbies, my gardening, my painting, my coupon shopping, and every project I like to undertake because I see something that I'd like to buy, but I can make it myself, have fun with it, and spend half as much. 

Some people see independent publishing as the easy way out, but I see it as the opposite. It's also more logical to me. I could spend months writing query letters, a different length of synopsis, gaining more credentials, etc. on the hopes that it would someday be worth it. I don't like working on the basis of hope. I like working with a plan (like the detailed business plan I've drawn up) and with a purpose. I can watch the results and adjust accordingly. I would much rather put my time into a potential reader than a potential agent. 'Nuff said. 

May 16, 2011

Reaching for inspiration

      Inspiration is the one thing all writers can agree has to go into any work. We're all on the lookout every moment for something more, something to give us that drive. Finding what inspires us to keep pushing out pages has become an art form in itself. Some writers use music, movies, discussion, scribbling on paper. I've even spoken to a few who can't seem to break outside the box without a heavy drink or two under their belt.
     As far as being inspired, I think I'm the luckiest person in the world. I live ten minutes from the most inspiring place I've ever known. It's not a castle made from diamonds or a wonder of the world. It's a creek. It's where I grew up.
    Most laugh at the name - Jigg Water. I'm surprised that it's kept that name in the face of desegregation. In my great-great grandparents time, that creek was the place where blacks would go and wash their clothes. I sit on the bank, listening to the falls in the distance, hearing the cranes give me their warning call; they don't trust me. There are no lights, no telephone poles, no interruption to the purity of nature. I can almost see their outlines, the hardened faces of the scorned and abused, singing "All God's chillun got wing...", and beating the tattered cotton made blouses against the rocks.
    I love having the ability to watch them, those souls that linger, as though a movie plays out right before me. I'd be lost without my imagination. They fade. There's no better inspiration to me than knowing through what oppression others have persevered. I can write this page. I sit on the truck bed and watch the muddy water slothing by me, watch the sun peeking at me through the valley, and stare in awe at the bluest grass you've ever seen. I feel blessed to know my way around the maze of creeks and paths. The water is open to the public, but unless it's the weekend, there's not another person in sight.
    If I can't make it out there, I always have my coffee and my sunrise on the back porch. I work best when it's quiet and I'm not distracted by the noises of everyday life.

Where do you get your inspiration?

May 15, 2011

Cover Ideas

     I've managed to render some 3D images, or use paint programs to create them, and I wanted to get some feedback on my cover ideas. Keep in mind that none of these are set in stone and they could all use some perfecting. I'm just playing around with some ideas trying to come up with the best cover. Let me know which one you like best. I may add more later as I continue my search for the right cover.

Cover 1 - 3D imaging

Cover 2 - Painted

Cover 3 - Old Style

Cover 4 - Contemporary

I would love to know what you think!!

May 11, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

            "To be, or not to be: that is the question..." Now if that were the only question, I'd be happy. Up until the moment I burst forth into the publishing world, I thought myself a quick decision maker. Now I find myself plagued with all of these big choices with no possible way to guess the outcome. I have a list of decisions I need to make... and I can't bring myself to "lock in my final answer". As I weigh the pros and cons, I keep tipping the scale back to the center and it balances. If you have any advice on how you made any of the following decisions as a writer, please, PLEASE, clue me in.

Big Decision #1: Do I try to publish in the traditional fashion or go with indie? 
(I could write another book on my pros and cons for this one) 

Big Decision #2: How many beta readers, proofreaders, and editors do I solicit before I can call it 'done'? 
(Then again -- is it ever really finished? Will I be finding things that irk me after years of editing?) 

Big Decision #3: Which one of these book covers do I use? 
(So many options!!!) 

I have a plethora of smaller choices to make, but for now, those are the ones that are tormenting me. It really needs to come down to me picking something and sticking with it, but I can't for the life of me muster that courage. I keep waiting, but it just doesn't come!! 

May 6, 2011


     My last post was aimed at how to get Kindle eBooks for free. I neglected to mention that if you don't own a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle for your PC. Amazon has it available for download HERE. It's wonderful for reading at your PC or on your laptop.


May 5, 2011

How to get the best Kindle books for FREE!!!

      I thought I might share my own tactics in obtaining all the newest and best kindle books without cost to me. Before you even begin to wonder, NO I am not a pirate and YES the authors still get paid. HOW!?! you ask.... here's how:

You can use my referral link:  CLICK HERE

Sign up for swagbucks and install the toolbar. With this toolbar, you can use swagbucks' search engine, which periodically awards you for using it with $wagbucks. Once you have 450 swagbucks (which never takes long with the amount of searching I do), you can trade them in for a $5 Amazon gift card. I do nothing but typical searches and I get gift cards to buy kindle books with!!! You can apply as many as you want to your account, so even if you're yearning for that $9.99 ebook, you can still get it for free and the author gets more sales! It's a win-win.

You can use my referral link above to get 30 swagbucks right off the bat.

Truth be known, I used to use swagbucks feverishly. As you can tell from my rewards page shown below, I've been slacking.

This is what it looks like when the search gives you rewards (got this one just now):

May 4, 2011



Special thanks to Anita @ for bestowing this award on me! I will, in return, pay it forward to 5 other flaming hot blogs:

1.Debbie McCune
@ *Notebook To Novel*

2. Scott Niven
@ Scott-Niven-Author

3. Rachel McClellan
@ Black Bird In My Window

4. Paul Anthony Short
@ Coffee Thoughts 

5. Faye
@ Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm

To get your award, right click and copy the image and repost it on your blog! The only stipulation is that you have to pay it forward to another blog you think is ON FIRE.

April 28, 2011

Blog, boring blog.

      As I look around, I notice everyone has pretty pictures and drawings, even pie charts on their blogs. Look at mine. *Sigh*. So, just for the heck of it, I played with a photo program and "painted" a picture of one of my characters. If you happen to stumble upon this blog, leave me a comment and let me know what this picture portrays to you. (Eg. does she look like a mean little spit monster? Is she solemn, innocent?)

April 26, 2011


 There's a new community page on FB for aspiring authors. They're trying to get up the number of followers so they can start hosting contests. Check em out at and "like".

April 20, 2011

Why I have no fingernails

      I just converted my manuscript into pdf and sent it away to a few beta readers. Now I wait. I hate this part.  I sit idly by while my "precious" is picked apart by test readers. It's nerve wracking! I'd compare using beta readers to exposing yourself in public. I just want to climb inside their heads and pull out the files on my book. I'm just thankful it doesn't take nearly as long to read something as it does to write it. I would be bald by then!!

April 17, 2011

Greatest Advice

    Just moments ago, I was speaking to a close friend about all these big decisions I'm struggling to make. She said something I will never forget.
    "You do realize ur not in control right? The story is using you to make itself exist. Not the other way around." - A.V.

April 12, 2011

Book Reviews

    I know I harp a lot on here about preparing yourself for all the rejection letters, only because I've made a real effort to do that myself. Once you've stepped past the gates into publishing, there's something much worse looming in the darkness, however. Book Reviews. We've all seen it, the back covers of books are littered with positive reviews from big wigs from one corner of the earth to the other. What you don't see are the bad ones.
   I read an article about Stephen King the other day, and how he had publicly professed his distaste for the woman who wrote the Twilight series and it made me step back and think about how I was going to respond to a negative review.
   After rolling it over in my head for a while, I came to some comfortable conclusions. First off, whoever handed you the bad ticket was simply doing their job. To review a book is to take in all aspects and form an opinion. If this reviewer has a lot of followers who typically share his opinion, those readers aren't likely to buy your book. It may seem counterproductive, but I would be thankful myself as a reader if someone I shared tastes with helped me to avoid buying something I wouldn't like.
   Next, consider that an esteemed author tends to lose their memory. Some of them will admit that the first thing they ever put into publication was ill written and very juvenile, while some will claim they were a genius from the start. I would dare to say that every author in the world has gone through a time when their work just wasn't up to par. Don't get down on yourself because you're a step behind. Instead, get back in the books, study, and get yourself at the level you need to be.
  The last thing I would like to cover is that one quick way to end your acclaim in a writing career is to joust with someone. Being immature and saying hurtful things only looks bad on you in the end. If you can't bring yourself to accept a bad review, avoid talking about the subject all together. If the reviewer was as far as to take some deep stabs at you as a person, it says a lot about that person; getting personal might gain them some attention, but that isn't part of a respectable review.
  What do you do with a book you pick up and you just can't get into? One that just isn't your kind of "thing"? Personally, I've picked up many books and finished reading the first page while standing over the trash can, closed the cover, and dropped it in. You kind of get a little laugh at those who said they absolutely hated everything about it but still spent hours reading the whole thing.

April 8, 2011

While I'm waiting....

             As of right now, I've stepped back from my work. I've put so much into it lately I think it's due time for a break. With nothing new to update, I thought I would throw out some ideas and tips for writers, some of the things I used to push me through until the end.

When making characters, I would use google search with terms like "brown haired lady" or whatever was a close fit. I would browse images until I found one that I thought looked similar to the way I wanted to portray that character, and save the image to the file on my computer. Anytime I needed to make a visual reference, I had a picture right there to guide me. I do this with places sometimes too.

 Walk away. One of my most used phrases while writing was, "I'm stuck." Sometimes I would put it down and not look at it for a month, sometimes it was only a day. Either way, when I came back, I had fresh ideas in my mind, and sometimes when there was a hurdle I couldn't seem to jump, the answer fell right in my lap. Take a break, it'll do you some good.

 You'll hear a lot of people say to have everything ready, know your beginning, middle, and end before you write the first word. Maybe that works for some people, but every time I've tried it, I end up going a whole different direction and scrapping my outline. I work better on the fly. Maybe you should have a general idea about your purpose, but I have to disagree with those detailed outlines.

 That's all that comes to mind for the moment, I'm sure I'll be adding more to this as it comes. Keep writing!

April 6, 2011

The title of this post is "Title"

         With a 65k word, 20+ chapter book in my hand, I searched through the pages over and over trying to find the perfect fit, the perfect words to lay on the cover that would give it a name. It's ridiculous how someone could type out that many words straight from their imagination and be speechless when it comes to putting one or two words on the front of it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has dealt with this conundrum. A friend told me to check out some title generators, I honestly didn't even know they existed. If you're desperate to give your book a name (I had a harder time naming this book than I did my own children), check out: There, you can plug in some important grammar from your manuscript and it randomly fits them together. I was actually surprised at the results. I wonder how many big authors came up with their title this way?
        And just for fun: has a really random title generator. Don't expect much in the means of a serious title from that one, but you'll likely get a good laugh. The first one it gave me was The Dangerous Heater.
       I ended up creating my title from two words that really stuck out to me, but had nothing to do with my book. Go ahead, call me crazy, but upon a little further investigation I found the perfect way to tie it in to my story and make it relevant throughout all 20-something chapters (I say 20-something because I'm sure by the time the editing is done, that number will change). Maybe someday you can pick up Sounding Waters and see exactly what I mean.

April 5, 2011

Aspiring or Aspirating?

       I was struck earlier with the irony of how close these two words are. Not just in spelling and prefix, but in life as well. Aspiring authors probably often feel as though they've aspirated. Drowning in this mess of middle men and literary jargon could be very easy. I think that's precisely what sets apart authors from aspiring authors, though. It's sink or swim. And just like swimming, the first time you hit the water, you're not likely to be swimming laps around the marketing world. It's more like doggie-paddling, trying to keep your head above the water. There's no doubt you're going to get tired at some point, might even swallow a little more than you can handle. Do you get out of the pool or keep going?
     With that in mind, I've prepared myself for the rejection letters I'm going to receive. Not just prepared though. I plan to walk to my mailbox daily expecting a big red "NO" stamped on every envelope. If I can look at it that way, the rejections won't really be a disappointment, and when the day comes that someone finally decides to read my manuscript, well, won't that be a surprise? I may go bankrupt paying for all the postage, but I'll take out a loan to get my work out there again and again. With the summer months approaching, I'm looking forward to wading into the pool and getting my metaphorical feet wet.

April 3, 2011

It's DONE! Or is it....?

           Just a few short days ago, I was ecstatic about FINALLY finishing the last chapter of a book I've been working on for a little over a year. When I say working on, I don't mean I wrote a little here and there, I mean working on. Okay, so I may not have devoted 40 hours a week, but who really has time for that? I dedicated many long and grueling hours, and found myself on many occasions staring at a computer screen until four in the morning, knowing I had to get out of bed two hours later. So I was thrilled! I was finally DONE! Or so I thought...
           Before I started picking my work apart myself, I started doing some homework in search of the next few steps on my road to fame! (That was sarcasm). So far it seems when you're "DONE!", you truly are only at the beginning. Step one, of course, was self-editing. I'm still working on that.... Step two, find an editor. This step I found quite interesting. I browsed through literally hundreds of editor's web-pages and at the end, I found myself no better than where I began. Oh the monotony! Though they all had different credentials, experience, guarantees, and payment options, overall they come off the same. One after another claimed they were better than the rest, faster than the rest, and smarter than the rest. It seemed like they were bombarding the web browsers with attempts at selling themselves. All too quickly I was uninterested. Failure #1 - don't bother with the web pages.
          After a lot of wasted time, I devised a better plan to pick out my own editor. I skipped the technical web pages, and browsed through blogs written about editors. Lo and behold, at the end of every one was heaps of comments by the editors themselves. There, I found REAL words from editors. I got a better feel for each one, learned how they operated, and even took notes on which to avoid (there was a plethora of nasty comments and bickering amongst them). I knew what I wanted in an editor, and by skipping their "I'm perfect" ads, I was able to choose one I thought best suited my style. Thankfully, I was able to avoid all those stuffy librarian types who would tear me to shreds and be pushy about it.
          Now here I am. I've worked through 6 chapters of grammatical editing and sorting out everything that doesn't fit. I've pinpointed quite a few large problems that will need to be reworked and rewritten. Yeah, more writing. Just when I thought I was done.....

Forgot to mention

     I was set on using "The Pen is my Sword" as sort of a theme for this blog. I even chose those words to include in my web address. Upon traveling to my new blog to start, I see Thepenismysword? Really? No wonder I needed an editor. How could I miss that? Thankfully I did catch it, and made sure to change that one quickly. Hey, no snickers out there!